This protein-rich, vegan and gluten-free crepe has its origins from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India. The batter for this crepe is traditionally made with whole green mung beans and a small amount of rice that are soaked in water until the mung beans are soft enough to grind into a smooth batter. ‘Pesara’ refers to mung beans in Telugu, the language spoken in Andhra Pradesh. ‘Attu’ means pancake or crepe. Combine those two terms and you get ‘Pesarattu’, a crepe made with mung beans.
Mung beans or Mung daal are actually a legume. They are a source of vegetarian protein, fiber, manganese, folate, B vitamins and potassium. In India, mung beans are considered to be more easily digestible than most other dry beans or daals. They are a popular choice of daals in many Ayurvedic diets. Another common form factor of mung beans are yellow mung beans, which are green mung beans split and deskinned. Without the green skins, yellow split mung beans cook a lot faster than the whole mung bean and are used in a large variety of daal dishes in India.
Back to our recipe – since whole mung beans take a relatively longer time to soften up when soaked, many cooks use split yellow mung beans. In this recipe today, I am using both types of mung beans. I like the pale green color you get by adding whole mung and also the added fiber. The yellow split mung makes the dish a bit more delicate. Feel free to use only one kind of mung bean in your recipe. The little bit of rice gives a slight crispiness to the pesarattu. Fresh green chillies, ginger and cumin are the traditional flavorings for this batter.
To make the pesarattu, preheat a non-stick pan or a cast-iron dosa tava. Spritz the pan with water when you think it is hot. If the water sizzles in the first 2-4 seconds, the pan is hot. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel, and using a round ladle, pour about 1/3 cup of batter in the center of the pan. Using the back of the ladle and starting in the center, draw an imaginary clock-wise spiral radiating outwards, until you have spread the batter into a circle. Drizzle the top of the pesarattu with about 3/4 tsp of oil, ensuring that the oil is spread evenly.
Sprinkling a mixture of finely chopped onions, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves and cumin over the pesarattu is a very common way to eat pesarattu in Andhra Pradesh. Some cooks will take this a step further and add a generous dollop of ‘Upma’ (a spicy Indian version of grits or polenta) in the center of the pesarattu once its cooked. The cooked pesarattu is gently folded along the center and served with a spicy coconut chutney. Pesarattu can be eaten plain or topped with a mixture of chopped finely onions, ginger, green chillies, cilantro and cumin seeds.
Makes about 5 cups batter, serves 4 Soaking time: 4 hrs Cooking time: 1 hr Ingredients: 1.5 cups split yellow moong daal 1 cup whole moong green 3 tbsp raw basmati rice 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 2 tbsp chopped ginger 1 thai pepper or serrano pepper, about 2" long Salt to taste Method: Combine the yellow moong daal, green moong daal and rice and rinse the mixture clean. Drain and cover with fresh water. Let soak for about 4 hours. Drain the soaked daal and rice mixture, saving about 1 cup of the soaking liquid. Blend the daal and rice mixture along with cumin seeds, chopped ginger and chopped thai peppers and approximately 3/4 cup of the soaking liquid. You should have a very finely blended batter. It should be close to the consistency of a pancake batter - thick but still pourable. Add salt to taste. Prepare the pesarettu as described in the notes above.